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"The balance of power has shifted."
—Promotional poster/pamphlet included with Pokémon Emerald Version
The third set of games in the Pokémon series, Ruby and Sapphire were released for the Game Boy Advance, with Emerald arriving a few years after. Along with FireRed, LeafGreen, Colosseum and XD, they are known collectively as the 3rd Generation. It introduced many changes to the gameplay, such as: natures, abilities, double battles, contests, and over 100 new Pokémon to collect. Along with massive graphical improvements over its predecessors, it also brought a complete overhaul of the data structure, resulting in the games being incompatible with the previous two generations. The games took place in Hoenn, which is based on the Kyushu region of Japan rotated ninety degrees.
The game begins with the player moving to their new home in Littleroot Town, where they save Professor Birch from a wild Pokémon. As thanks, he gives the player their own Pokémon, and the adventure begins. Unlike previous installments, the player has two rival trainers: The first is Brendan or May (depending on which gender the player is), Birch's child. The other is Wally, a sickly boy who catches his first Pokémon with help from the player, and who leaves home soon afterward.
On their quest to be the best, players will encounter two villainous groups: Teams Aqua and Magma, who want to flood and dry out the planet, respectively. Sapphire players will become allied with Team Magma to stop Aqua summoning Kyogre, while Ruby trainers help Aqua stop Magma summoning Groudon. Emerald put them both in the antagonist role, with Rayquaza being summoned to stop the chaos.
These games may be the biggest case of One Game for the Price of Two in the franchise, as there is literally no way to legitimately collect all 386 Pokémon without aid from FireRed, LeafGreen, Colosseum, and XD (Oddly, only Ruby or Sapphire). . Due to being released after the "Pokémania" phase of Generations I and II, and before the "It prints money" phase of the Nintendo DS, Ruby and Sapphire were the least successful (though were still greatly profitable) "main pair" of games.
After over a decade, Ruby and Sapphire were remade as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire with elements of Emerald.
Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald:
- After Combat Recovery: 5/7 of the Battle Frontier facilities (the exception being the Pike [although subverted when certain conditions are met] and the Pyramid).
- An Interior Designer Is You: The Secret Bases, which can get addicting. You can also decorate your bedroom at home, though to a lesser extent than the Secret Bases.
- Alliterative Family: Victor, Vicky, Victoria, Vito, and Vivi Winstrate
- Apathetic Citizens: The two places which subverts this are Lilycove and Sootopolis, when Groudon and/or Kyogre are woken. Everywhere else, it's played straight.
- Apocalypse How: The weather trio starts as an in progress Class 0, but stated that if it is not stopped, will become a Class 4 (Groudon bringing harsh heavy everlasting sun, leaving desert wildlife, or Kyogre flooding the world, which allows purely aquatic life to remain).
- Bag of Spilling: This generation is the only one to be incompatible with previous generations, which is one among various reasons behind the hatedom towards these games.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- A replica of Submarine Explorer 1 can be seen in the museum when you first visit it.
- There's one that may go unnoticed in Emerald thanks to how subtle it is. Thanks to the Match Call feature, trainers that you register will randomly call you for stuff that never really matters. At one point, your rival calls and remarks on seeing a flying, green Pokémon in the sky. Most players just take it to be another silly adventure. But when Groudon and Kyogre are clashing in Sootopolis City and Wallace asks you where one might find Rayquaza, the big green, flying legendary Pokémon, suddenly your rival's phone call seems a little more useful.
- Similarly, a couple in Lilycove mentions they are vacationing there and were excited because the first Pokémon they saw was a dragon flying through the sky.
- There's also a man in Fortree City who remarks on seeing a gigantic green dragon.
- Even funnier after you manage to capture/defeat Rayquaza: He will ask "By the way, you smell singed. Were you at a volcano or something?"
- Continuity Nod: The background music played inside the Oceanic Museum at Slateport is a remix of the S.S. Anne theme.
- Not to mention, one of the ship replicas contained therein is of the S.S. Anne.
- Convection, Schmonvection: Mt. Chimney. You shouldn't be able to stand right in front of the lava pool like that.
- Humorously averted with a Team Magma grunt who's standing guard near a lava pool. When he engages you in battle he complains about his post and says his left ear is burning.
- That grunt seems to exist solely to avert this trope. After the fight he says he's getting heat exhaustion and, if you talk to him after the fight, questions why Team Magma is wearing hoods in a volcano.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything
- You know how the Pokédex says no two Spinda have the same spot pattern? Turns out a hidden stat generated about 4 billion different patterns.
- You can't lose the starting fight; the wild Pokémon will flee if you purposefully screw it up. Birch still compliments you...
- You will be let into the museum for free if you don't have the money needed to pay the fee, but only during the one time the plot requires you to enter.
- Dummied Out: It was stated in a Nintendo Power interview that Gastrodon (and presumably Shellos), of Generation IV fame, was initially designed to be a Pokémon for these installments, but was later scrapped.
- Easter Egg: There are six hidden tracks in Emerald, five of them GBA remakes of Generation II  tracks and the last one an alternate arrangement/possible demo of the Littleroot Town music. They don't show up in actual gameplay, however.
- Evil Versus Evil: Teams Magma and Aqua are constantly at odds with each other. Each version lets you take a different response to it. (In Ruby, you team up with Team Aqua to defeat Team Magma. In Sapphire, it's the other way around. In Emerald, you fight both of them.)
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture
- Hoenn is Kyushu, Japan, rotated ninety degrees.
- On top of that, Sootopolis City's architecture is based on the city of Santorini, Greece.
- On the actual culture however, Hoenn seems to be a bit of a rural island, or at least an island that has very strong traditions. It has strong port cities but those don't have Gyms. The only major city to have a Gym is Rustboro, and it's implied that is a fairly new Gym at that.
- The legendaries seem to be based off of Jewish mythical creatures: golems (the Regis), Leviathan (Kyogre), Behemoth (Groudon), and Ziz (Rayquaza).
- Game Breaking Bug: Approximately 100 hours into gameplay or one year after the game's release, a rollover bug, called the Berry Glitch, would result in Berries ceasing to grow in Sapphire and Ruby - along with stilling/freezing anything ''else'' relating to the passage of time (e.g. the tides in Shoal Cave). Linking with FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald, Colosseum, XD, an event for a shiny Zigzagoon at EB games, a pair of Japanese promo e-Reader cards, non-Japanese releases of ''Pokémon Box'', or the PAL release of Pokémon Channel patched the error.
- The internal batteries that handled clock-based events in the initial Ruby and Sapphire weren't the longest lived either, so there was a good chance they would fail (with the same effects as the Berry glitch), and unlike the Berry glitch, as it is a hardware issue and not a software one, it can't be fixed. Fortunately, unlike Gold, Silver, and Crystal, the battery isn't used to retain save data as well (which is stored using flash memory; Fire Red and Leaf Green don't have batteries at all), so the game can still be played; just without the time-based events.
- And of course, the Pomeg Berry glitch in Emerald.
- While still having bugs; Game Freak was able to perform much more bug-testing with their games starting with R/S/E (After the profits from gen I and II made up for the loss of Gen I's troubled production) And it shows.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: Dewford's trendy things are very abusable.
- Hot Skitty-On-Wailord Action: This is the actual Trope Namer, though it really started in Gen II.
- Just Add Water: the Pokéblocks.
- Large Ham: The dialogue can give such an impression because it still uses the previous generations' tendency to display proper names in ALL CAPS, including those of all Pokémon species, moves and abilities, as well as all items, NPC and place names (even unimportant ones). Averted in Gen IV onwards as all proper names are displayed with proper casing (except Pokémon species' names, which were finally given the same treatment in Gen V).
- Lost Forever: One of the more legitimate cases is the Master Ball, which, in Ruby and Sapphire, is found in Team Magma/Aqua's Lilycove hideout, which closes up later in the game. (Emerald, fortunately, leaves the hideout open.) Since the base is built around warp-tile puzzles, the item is easy to miss.
- The opportunity to battle and catch Pokémon in the Cave of Origin is lost after the completion of the Weather Trio crisis event in Emerald Version.
- The rooms of the Trick House north of Slateport City can amount to this, as the player cannot revisit them once they have been completed, resulting in the possibility of some items (visible and hidden) being missed forever.
- Mutually Exclusive Powerups: You can only have one of the e-Reader Berry species at a time.
- Nintendo Hard
- Now Where Was I Going Again?: In Ruby and Sapphire, it can be frustrating if you forget the last two lines of dialogue from Norman after you defeat him and get his badge, as they point you to the one item required to advance the game, HM03 (Surf). Those lines are easy to forget because he says something different if you talk to him again. Fortunately, averted in Emerald where Wally's father arrives and gives you HM03, immediately after you defeat Norman.
- Ominous Fog: surrounds the upper levels of Mount Pyre, which is an entirely isolated mountain filled to bursting with Pokémon graves.
- The "steam" in Lavaridge Town's Gym could also reflect this.
- Power-Up Food: Pokéblocks, as well as their comprising Berries.
- Randomly Drops: Feebas is one of the most frustrating Pokémon to get in these games. Out of 436 water tiles on Route 119, only six randomly-picked tiles  have Feebas, a 1 in 72.67 chance of finding a tile that has them. You're not even guaranteed to get one by fishing on those tiles.
- Scenery Porn: By GBA standards, anyway. Hoenn is the prettiest region in the Pokéverse. Among the environments seen include, but are not limited to: forests, beaches, mountains, cliffs, cities, villages, treehouses, islands, deserts, volcanoes, rivers, rain-forests, sea basins, hot springs, underwater, caves, underwater caves... The variety of environments in this game is so vast, some even thought that you would be able to ''go into OUTER SPACE. 
- Shifting Sand Land: There is a large desert, with a constant sandstorm raging, so you need goggles to get across it.
- Shout-Out: Young Couple Lois and Hal; interestingly, they're absent from Emerald.
- Sidequest: New Mauville. Also, the Pokémon Contests, which were first introduced in this generation.
- Tree-Top Town: Fortree City, naturally.
- Under the Sea: With HM08 (Dive), a feature that didn't return until Black and White.
- Wasted Song: The Maxie/Archie Boss Battle theme is over a minute long and really impressive sounding, but only plays during the rather short, pathetic fights against Maxie and Archie.
- Not to mention Deoxys' battle theme, which only plays when you encounter Deoxys via a difficult-to-attend/get Nintendo event.
- There are a number of remastered Generation II songs that remain unused and do not appear in the final game, possibly because those beta tracks were only used for sound tests:
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: Played straight. What makes the straightness interesting though is that its unique among Pokémon games, the rest have the evil teams stopped before the "let legendary Pokémon do X" stage, while these games actually show them in the process of attempting to burn the world to a crisp/flood the world. The music doesn't help make it not disturbing.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Oddly, Hoenn has a large number of important characters with blue, purple, and even silver hair - more so than most any other region.
Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
- Anti-Frustration Features: A lot of the flaws in the original games were fixed thanks to new and improved mechanics:
- Getting a Milotic is easier now that you can find Feebas anywhere in Route 119's water. Plus, the game kept the Prism scale, so you can trade-evolve your Feebas if you don't feel like wasting your berries to make a million Pokeblocks. And if you prefer the Pokeblock method? Any Pokemon will eat anything now.
- The EXP share works the same way as it did in the Kalos games. No more need for tedious level grinding!
- If you're a fan of the Safari Zone, you no longer have to pay to go in and you can stay as long as you like.
- Of course, since the world is round and we never see Hoenn on a map along with any other regions, this rotation doesn't matter much
- The Game Boy Advance had backwards-compatability for the GameBoy Color, but its link cables were unable to connect the two systems; coupled with the aforementioned data structure redesign, there was no method for importing or trading Pokémon from Gold, Silver or Crystal to Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald. The Red and Blue remakes provided all 150 Kanto Pokémon and a small pool of Johto's, with Colosseum and XD having several from all three regions; together, they had all but the event-only Pokémon. Between Emerald and Ruby/Sapphire, only Zangoose and Lunatone respectively are missing and both are found in XD
- The Pokémon Communications Center theme, the Route 38 theme, the Team Rocket Radio Tower Takeover music, the Raikou/Entei/Suicune battle theme from ''Crystal'', and the redone Viridian/Pewter/Saffron City music
- (whenever a new game is started or the trendy phrase in Dewford is changed)
- You know, to catch Jirachi and Deoxys.